The Prince of Egypt Stage Adaptation Heads to London
A stage adaptation of Dreamworks’ animated film The Prince of Egypt (1998) is premiering at London’s West End in February 2020, reports Playbill.
The show will feature an expanded version of the film’s original score. Stephen Schwartz, who created the music and lyrics for the film, created the new music for the play, adding ten new songs. The Oscar-winning song “When You Believe,” originally performed by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, will be retained.
The show will run at the Dominion Theatre for 32 weeks. Previews begin Feb. 5, with an official opening on Feb. 25 and closing Sept. 12.
Michael McCabe, Neil Laidlaw and Dreamworks Theatricals will produce the show. Dreamworks Theatricals was established around 2008 and has only produced one show before— Shrek The Musical, which ran on Broadway from December 2008 to January 2010, and toured nationally from July 2010 to July 2011. Shrek The Musical had its West End premiere in May 2011.
Casting for The Prince of Egypt is yet to be announced, but the script is by Philip LaZebnik, who is one of the two credited writers for the film. Sean Cheesman will choreograph with Scott Schwartz, Stephen Schwartz’s son, directing. A private reading in London occurred earlier this year.
The London show will not be the first time the film’s story is seen on stage. It premiered in 2017 at the San Francisco Bay Area's TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and won that year’s Regional Theatre Tony Award. Scott Schwartz also directed that incarnation of the show. The show also played at the Fredericia Teater in Denmark.
The show’s history goes back to 2016, when a concert reading of the show, an event where the actors would have read their lines from copies of the stage play, was canceled. It was going to take place at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, Long Island, where Scott Schwartz is the artistic director, but lack of diversity in the casting led to social media backlash.
The film and play tell of the story of Moses as recounted in the Book of Exodus. In the film, Moses is found by Pharaoh Seti's wife after his mother, a Hebrew woman, sends him down the river in a reed basket to protect him from the order of execution for all Hebrew baby boys. He grows up as royalty and is later called by God to deliver the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt.
The Prince of Egypt was the second animated film produced by Dreamworks, released in December 1998, two months after the studio’s first animated feature, Antz. It accumulated a worldwide gross of $218 million on a $70 million budget.
No plans for a Broadway run or plans after London have been announced yet.